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> Clisk Tracks/ Quantization / A Crutch?
Todd Simpson
post Dec 31 2017, 06:49 PM
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In this vid, we hear something about folks using QUANTIZATION ( software forcing a performance in to correct timing) of guitars. This has become a common thing in modern metal. Just as the click track has become a common thing. Many folks simply can't count time and play to the drummer so they use a click track in the daw. Between quantizing the drums and guitars and using trigers, METAL has become EDM, electronic dance music ) with distorted guitars. sad.gif The performances are, in essence, fake. They are edited together from wads of takes and then quantized to fit. So forget folks actually playing a take in one pass. Most just can't. H'e talking about touring bands here not folks at home. It's become the "Auto Tune" of metal to use software to get around the fact that players at the pro level simply can't play well enough to get a clean take. What do you think?



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klasaine
post Jan 1 2018, 02:42 AM
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Wow! Really!?
Can you post a vid of a track that's known to have quantized guitars? I'm not doubting that it's done but something like that doesn't really come up in my guitar playing universe.
*Licks and lines are occasionally slid forward or backward a bit but that's really more of a cut and paste type of thing.


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Caelumamittendum
post Jan 1 2018, 04:31 AM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jan 1 2018, 02:42 AM) *
Wow! Really!?
Can you post a vid of a track that's known to have quantized guitars? I'm not doubting that it's done but something like that doesn't really come up in my guitar playing universe.
*Licks and lines are occasionally slid forward or backward a bit but that's really more of a cut and paste type of thing.


Not sure if this is what you're asking for:



Quote from artist:

"As always, the guitars are 'programmed' in these songs. I say programmed, but really they're just the product of a lot of editing... I play and record my own samples using an actual guitar/bass guitar. I then arrange these samples to form riffs and progressions. Some parts I've actually started to play, but this doesn't mean I can play guitar at all... Everything is still heavily edited with the guitars when it comes down to it. Sometimes I'll even play something slower, and then I'll speed it up to actual song tempo! The process is similar to programming drums, except I remove the middle man (midi/software sampler)... hahaha!"


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yoncopin
post Jan 1 2018, 03:17 PM
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I'm pretty conflicted about this. At first take it seems lame, but then Cael's example actually makes me feel kinda envious of the results that guy is getting. I've spent countless hours practicing to play the instrument and isn't the goal to get those kind of results? It feels like cheating, but in the end no one is going to care. I play for myself only, and my goal is to be a good guitar player not a music producer, but I have to be honest with myself that I'm a bit jealous. Music production takes time and practice too, but I see that time investment being much lower to achieve mastery.


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Caelumamittendum
post Jan 1 2018, 03:45 PM
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QUOTE (yoncopin @ Jan 1 2018, 03:17 PM) *
I'm pretty conflicted about this. At first take it seems lame, but then Cael's example actually makes me feel kinda envious of the results that guy is getting. I've spent countless hours practicing to play the instrument and isn't the goal to get those kind of results? It feels like cheating, but in the end no one is going to care. I play for myself only, and my goal is to be a good guitar player not a music producer, but I have to be honest with myself that I'm a bit jealous. Music production takes time and practice too, but I see that time investment being much lower to achieve mastery.


I'm somewhat conflicted too. Of course, this guy is a drummer, and he doesn't play the guitar as well as he'd like to, but I think I've seen guitar covers of some of his songs, so obviously it's doable.

However, I think I'm sort of the reverse of you. Well, I like to consider myself a guitar player too, but what I really want to do is compose music - whether glued together piece by piece or played fully, it's the music and composition itself that is the goal, not necesarily the playability - though I've never gone outside my own abilities when composing - as in I'm not putting 32nd notes in 200 BPM by editing something, but when I've recorded songs I've done them bit by bit. That is recording the intro, then the verse, then chorus or whatever parts it is seperately instead of the full song. I always thought this was pretty common now a days, but I could be wrong.


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klasaine
post Jan 1 2018, 08:11 PM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Jan 1 2018, 07:45 AM) *
when I've recorded songs I've done them bit by bit. That is recording the intro, then the verse, then chorus or whatever parts it is seperately instead of the full song. I always thought this was pretty common now a days, but I could be wrong.


This has been 'common' since the beginning of digital recording.
Before that, in the tape era, it was occasionally done if the money was there. *It's a long and expensive process to record on to 2" tape separate intros, verses, choruses, bridges, solos, outros, etc. and then literally cut and paste (with tape) them together. Usually when and if it was necessary was that they'd cut and paste the good bits from several full takes together ...
Verse 1 from take #3
Verse 2 from take #5
Chorus from take #1
etc.

The only caveat is that the tempos had to be VERY consistent. Not necessarily absolutely perfect but super close.
Which is why a click track was used for most 'pop' music in the 60s and 70s and almost always in the 80s and later.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Jan 1 2018, 08:15 PM


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Caelumamittendum
post Jan 1 2018, 08:20 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jan 1 2018, 08:11 PM) *
This has been 'common' since the beginning of digital recording.
Before that, in the tape era, it was occasionally done if the money was there. *It's a long and expensive process to record on to 2" tape separate intros, verses, choruses, bridges, solos, outros, etc. and then literally cut and paste (with tape) them together. Usually when and if it was necessary was that they'd cut and paste the good bits from several full takes together ...
Verse 1 from take #3
Verse 2 from take #5
Chorus from take #1
etc.

The only caveat is that the tempos had to be VERY consistent. Not necessarily absolutely perfect but super close.
Which is why a click track was used for most 'pop' music in the 60s and 70s and almost always in the 80s and later.


That's how I understood it too, yeah. By the way, what did you make of the Anup Sastry quote/music? I know it might not be your taste, but I think it's interesting how he copy/pastes/edits the guitars.


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klasaine
post Jan 1 2018, 08:37 PM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Jan 1 2018, 12:20 PM) *
By the way, what did you make of the Anup Sastry quote/music? I know it might not be your taste, but I think it's interesting how he copy/pastes/edits the guitars.


You can definitely tell that a drummer wrote, recorded and produced that laugh.gif
Aside from that, yeah, it's an interesting way of going about music.
Not for me personally but if someone's willing to put in the time - great!, knock yourself out. It's not really different than using samples or doing EDM or even modern film score and video game composing.

As far as it not being 'metal' to do that ... those distinctions to me become superfluous once you start triple tracking guitars, punching solos, 'writing' solos, re-cutting lead vocals, triggering drum sounds, etc. I mean really - what's the difference?

This post has been edited by klasaine: Jan 1 2018, 08:47 PM


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Caelumamittendum
post Jan 1 2018, 08:42 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jan 1 2018, 08:37 PM) *
You can definitely tell that a drummer wrote, recorded and produced that laugh.gif
Aside from that, yeah, it's an interesting way of going about music.
Not for me personally but if someone's willing to put in the time it's not really different than using samples or doing EDM.
As far as it not being 'metal' to do that ... those distinctions to me become superfluous once you start triple tracking guitars, punching solos, 'writing' solos, re-cutting lead vocals, triggering drum sounds, etc. I mean really - what's the difference?


I agree completely. It's not different, but I guess it depends what the goal is - the composition or the playability (for instance in front of an audience). I often think to myself that I'm in no hurry to get playing in front of an audience - it's the composition that interests me smile.gif


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klasaine
post Jan 1 2018, 08:54 PM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Jan 1 2018, 12:42 PM) *
I agree completely. It's not different, but I guess it depends what the goal is - the composition or the playability (for instance in front of an audience). I often think to myself that I'm in no hurry to get playing in front of an audience - it's the composition that interests me smile.gif


The Beatles quit playing live for two reasons. 1) they couldn't hear themselves over the screaming fans. But more importantly 2) They felt they couldn't reproduce the music 'live' anymore after "Sgt. Pepper" (tape loops, orchestral parts, electronic bits, etc.) I don't think anyone (that has a valid opinion) would say that the Beatles aren't R&R or that they were faking it.

We use the tools we have to get the job done.
Ultimately it comes down to whether the 'music' is liked or not liked ... and that's all subjective.


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Todd Simpson
post Jan 2 2018, 01:43 AM
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It's quite common sadly among tech death folks. Also "Comping" is common where they take 50 takes and cut together one good take out of it. Also, folks rely heavily on the click track instead of listening to the drummer, also folks including periphery record their guitars and then speed them up in software. It's gotten to be an epidemic. That's what he is decrying. It's the Metal version of Auto Tune. sad.gif

It does all come down the audience in the end and whether they like it or not. But I think what the guy is talking about in the video is folks coming in to the studio who are really not quite ready and who use these tools as a crutch instead of actually putting in enough practice to play their bits. It does reduce the form to a bit more than EDM where it's just constructed rather than played. I suppose that's fine and all as some folks love EDM and some folks love tech death thats really EDM with distorted guitars. I suppose it's a natural progression given that software tools can now help us create things that we could never actually play. In order to push the envelope, many tech death drummers are using midi drums that are actually impossible to replicate by a human. There is a sad quality to it though, I hear where he's coming from but I suppose it's just progress.

I've read that NOLLY from Periphery ended up tracking most of the guitars as he was simply the best player in the room on their last album. That was sad for me as a fan that the bass player had to take over tracking guitars. I have been in the studio and asked to play the other guys part because he just couldn't pull it off under a microscope. It's my fondest wish that musicians dig deep in the coming years and learn to play first, rather than relying on plugins/quantization/auto tune etc. But it's probably just wishful thinking smile.gif


QUOTE (klasaine @ Dec 31 2017, 09:42 PM) *
Wow! Really!?
Can you post a vid of a track that's known to have quantized guitars? I'm not doubting that it's done but something like that doesn't really come up in my guitar playing universe.
*Licks and lines are occasionally slid forward or backward a bit but that's really more of a cut and paste type of thing.


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Jan 2 2018, 02:27 AM


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klasaine
post Jan 2 2018, 06:54 AM
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I seriously doubt listeners or audiences really care one way or the other.
Like in that famous South Park episode where the kids are playing 'guitar hero' and Kyle's dad comes in and plays real guitar (Kansas) and they just look at him and laugh.

No offense, but so much of that music is just a show of technique for technique's sake. In some ways, this is it's natural means to an end.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Jan 2 2018, 06:55 AM


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AK Rich
post Jan 2 2018, 06:57 AM
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I guess quantization isn't just for noob keyboard players anymore when creating sequences to use with a click track (for the drummer) while playing live when you don't have a keyboard player.

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Rammikin
post Jan 2 2018, 07:02 AM
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Using a click track rarely has anything to do with fixing timing problems. It's generally used so you can independently record guitars and drums. Without a click track you have to commit to using the drum track that was used for playback when recording guitars. Using a click track lets you go back and re-record drums after guitars have been recorded. It's simply impossible to expect a drummer to recreate a drum tack without a click track.

Comping is common, but that's an extremely old technique that was even widely used before digital recording. Using a razor blade to splice together the best bits of tape from multiple takes, especially solos, has a long history smile.gif.

I'm with Ken about audio quantization. Leading DAWs have had this feature for a few years now, but it's news to me that it's widely used on guitar tracks. It usually only works well on percussive audio.

Misha is a humble person and has said Nolly is a better guitarist than him, but Nolly re-recording most of Periphery guitar tracks? That's hard to believe smile.gif.


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PosterBoy
post Jan 2 2018, 09:42 AM
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Albums, as it's for purely listening to, I can see why artists do what ever it takes to create the best sounding album. I'm currently listening to Story of the year's latest album and Aaron Sprinkle the producer was pretty much part of the band in terms of how much he contributed to it in terms of the electronic elements, and it does make me wonder how these songs will be interpreted when they play live, not in a negative way but the fact that you'll get a whole new experience (unless they use backing tracks).

In production there have been techniques like side-chaining a gate to create really accurate timings for years

There have been so many instances of session musicians playing solos etc on records for bands in the past. I think Tim Pierce played the guitar solo in Bon Jovi's Runaway not Richie.





This post has been edited by PosterBoy: Jan 2 2018, 09:46 AM


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Caelumamittendum
post Jan 2 2018, 12:46 PM
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QUOTE (PosterBoy @ Jan 2 2018, 09:42 AM) *
Albums, as it's for purely listening to, I can see why artists do what ever it takes to create the best sounding album. I'm currently listening to Story of the year's latest album and Aaron Sprinkle the producer was pretty much part of the band in terms of how much he contributed to it in terms of the electronic elements, and it does make me wonder how these songs will be interpreted when they play live, not in a negative way but the fact that you'll get a whole new experience (unless they use backing tracks).

In production there have been techniques like side-chaining a gate to create really accurate timings for years

There have been so many instances of session musicians playing solos etc on records for bands in the past. I think Tim Pierce played the guitar solo in Bon Jovi's Runaway not Richie.


That was one though that struck me too! I notice Jordan Rudess (who is of course capable of playing ANYTHING on keyboard) plays the sax solo live from Another Day by Dream Theater. Of course in earlier days it would be Kevin Moore and later Derek Sherinian playing it on keyboard. I don't know if they ever did the real sax live - probably a few times. Now, that is of course close to the real thing, but then you may have other musicians doing more improv-like solos in their songs live.


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Grappa
post Jan 2 2018, 02:18 PM
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Hi all,

I think the big problem we have nowadays in music (or wider actually) is that the use of tools to 'improve' the output constantly results in the resetting of the benchmark that is considered to be the acceptable minimum standard. And the tools are forever becoming more powerful and side-effects less noticeable.

Back in the tape days we were splicing if we could and using other tricks to get the results we wanted such as comping (yes this was done in a less sophisticated way with tape). Artists had to be able to perform however as the tools were less sophisticated. As digital audio came along we gained more power; the ability to comp flexibly, slice audio with impunity and time/pitch shift on the fly. Add to the mix the power of vocal tuning etc. and we end up with the ability (with the correct skill set) to basically refactor what we have recorded and shape it artistically.

The problem is that once a benchmark is set (for example perfect vocal tuning and level automation) then in order to compete commercially pretty much everyone else follows suit and we end up with a zero-sum game where the outcome is potentially more and more homogenized. The music industry is a competetive market ultimately (although less so given the stranglehold of the major players in most genres) and this drives this sort of behaviour - how many commercial records go out on a limb these days?

I don't have an issue fundamentally with the use of whatever tools are available to fulfill a music production vision. The problem I have is that the vision isn't one that I usually share.

I'm based in the UK and we used to have a rather popular weekly music TV show I'd be glued to. I watched a couple of repeats from the 80/90's recently and the thing that really struck me was the sheer diversity of material that was achieving commercial success. I listen regularly to the 'modern' equivalents with my kids and this diversity seems to have all but disappeared.

Happy NY btw smile.gif

Regards,

Si







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Todd Simpson
post Jan 2 2018, 10:00 PM
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No offense taken smile.gif In the end it comes down to the audience. I do find it sorta lame that it's gotten to the point where many pro touring bands can't play their own parts and have to ask the bass player or the guy doing the editing to make them sound like they play far better than they actually can.

QUOTE (klasaine @ Jan 2 2018, 01:54 AM) *
I seriously doubt listeners or audiences really care one way or the other.
Like in that famous South Park episode where the kids are playing 'guitar hero' and Kyle's dad comes in and plays real guitar (Kansas) and they just look at him and laugh.

No offense, but so much of that music is just a show of technique for technique's sake. In some ways, this is it's natural means to an end.



I have noticed this happening in Metal for a few years now. The Meshuggah trend of synching things to the kick seemed to grow wildly and we have everyone it seems doing it. This has lead to quite a bit of post production and a bit of sloppy playing live as it was not actually recorded tight by all the clone bands. The closer it gets to EDM (electronic dance music) where it's super quantized and edited, the less it seems to really have a lot of emotional ressonance for me as it all starts to sorta blur together. But trends come and go. Perhaps the next thing we will see is a swing the other way to try and get a more organic sound using musicians doing complete takes and leaving slight timing variance in there to add sonic diversity. Then again it could go purely sample based like the drummer djent song and folks could skip learning to play entirely and just do what Rap folks do and cut together whatever you want based on stuff other people have played in the past.


QUOTE (Grappa @ Jan 2 2018, 09:18 AM) *
Hi all,

I think the big problem we have nowadays in music (or wider actually) is that the use of tools to 'improve' the output constantly results in the resetting of the benchmark that is considered to be the acceptable minimum standard. And the tools are forever becoming more powerful and side-effects less noticeable.

Back in the tape days we were splicing if we could and using other tricks to get the results we wanted such as comping (yes this was done in a less sophisticated way with tape). Artists had to be able to perform however as the tools were less sophisticated. As digital audio came along we gained more power; the ability to comp flexibly, slice audio with impunity and time/pitch shift on the fly. Add to the mix the power of vocal tuning etc. and we end up with the ability (with the correct skill set) to basically refactor what we have recorded and shape it artistically.

The problem is that once a benchmark is set (for example perfect vocal tuning and level automation) then in order to compete commercially pretty much everyone else follows suit and we end up with a zero-sum game where the outcome is potentially more and more homogenized. The music industry is a competetive market ultimately (although less so given the stranglehold of the major players in most genres) and this drives this sort of behaviour - how many commercial records go out on a limb these days?

I don't have an issue fundamentally with the use of whatever tools are available to fulfill a music production vision. The problem I have is that the vision isn't one that I usually share.

I'm based in the UK and we used to have a rather popular weekly music TV show I'd be glued to. I watched a couple of repeats from the 80/90's recently and the thing that really struck me was the sheer diversity of material that was achieving commercial success. I listen regularly to the 'modern' equivalents with my kids and this diversity seems to have all but disappeared.

Happy NY btw smile.gif

Regards,

Si



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